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Spotlight: Montana State Genealogical Society

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Valerie Beaudrault

Valerie Beaudrault
Visitor Services Representative


Montana State Genealogical Society

The Montana State Genealogical Society (MSGS) was founded in 1989 to promote the “study of genealogical and historical research within the State of Montana.” The Society’s library is located in the Lewis & Clark Public Library in Helena, the state capital and county seat of Lewis and Clark County. It is located on the southern border of the state. The MSGS website contains some online resources, which are accessible from the homepage.

Click on the Montana State Death Indexes link to open a page from which you can access the Pre-1954 death indexes. Then click on the title link to access the Earliest Montana Death Records through 2002.

The Montana Bureau of Vital Statistics and MSGS collaborated to computerize the Pre-1954 death indexes. The Bureau arranged for the copying of the original vital records books and provided those copies to the Society. Many early deaths in Montana were not recorded on the local or state level. The earliest death in the index was recorded in 1882. These data files are grouped in one file for the pre-1900 dates and in ten-year increments for the period from 1900 on. The data fields for these indexes include Index Number, Last Name, First Name, Middle Name, Sex, Age, Location, County Number, County Name, Item Number, Day, Month, Year, Date of Death and Comments. Definitions for the 56 Montana County Codes have been provided on the database webpage. It should be noted that the records for the period from the early 1800’s to 1918 have no county designations. To get this information you will need to contact the Montana Bureau of Vital Statistics.

The Montana State Death Index 2003 to 2007 is only available on a CD, which can be purchased from MSGS. The files are in Excel format, and contain more than 41,000 Montana death certificates filed during this five-year period.

Norske Marriage & Naturalization Records
Part 1- Eastern Montana Marriage Records Index

This database is indexes marriage records of Blaine, Daniels, Dawson, Garfield, McCone, Phillips, Prairie, Richland, Roosevelt, Sheridan, Valley and Wibaux Counties of Montana, which were included in the book Norske In Montana by Richard Fretheim. As described on the website, the database is a “continuation of the search for the records of those Norwegian immigrants and Norwegian /Americans who came to the Territory/State of Montana during the settlement years.”

The data fields in the records (for both grooms and brides) are as follows: name, place of residence, age, place of birth and parents' names, date and place of the marriage, county of issue and document number of the marriage license.

Part 2 - Eastern Montana Naturalization Records

This database indexes naturalization records of Daniels, Dawson, Garfield, McCone, Phillips, Richland, Roosevelt, Sheridan, Valley and Wibaux Counties. They represent ten of the twelve counties included in Norske In Montana.

The data in the records includes Identity (name, place and date of birth), Route (last foreign residence (LFR), place and date of departure, name of ship(s) taken, place and date of entrance to the United States), and Document number (place and date filed of the Declaration of Intention or Petition for Naturalization and number and date of the Certificate of Naturalization). The researcher should note that, for the period from 1900 to 1930, naturalization documents for a single individual might be found in as many as three different courthouses, while residing at the same address.

1930 Census Index for Montana

The 1930 census index is organized by county. Montana had 56 counties in that year. Click on the County Link to access each index. The data fields in each index are: line, surname, given name, county number, enumeration district number, city/township, page number, sheet number, and comments. It is a work in progress.


Posted by Valerie Beaudrault at 08/06/2010 02:07:42 PM | 


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